The universities seem to crank out an endless supply of these non-serious leftist “intellectuals”.

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  1. Eric Auld says:

    Very straw-man.

  2. James Reade says:

    I think I might just take Hayek more seriously if his followers didn’t follow him so blindly, and insult everyone else who happens not to agree so strongly with his insights into the economy. The world is more complicated than one man is able to write about in a series of books. Calling someone who disagrees with you brain dead is hardly conducive to good debate, and challenging their intellectualism, just because they lean more to the left than you, is similarly stunting for any kind of real dialogue between people like yourself and the rest of us.

    Oh, I’d also take him more seriously if you didn’t write every title for your blog IN CAPITALS!

  3. Greg Ransom says:

    James — as an argument against Hayek or the market, why this guy recycles are some of the most embarrassing tropes from the neo-Marxist literature, stuff which was laughable when it was first presented to me by a hard left Marxist / Continental philosopher decades ago.

    The title of this blog is “Taking Hayek Seriously”. This guy isn’t coming close to taking Hayek seriously, or much of anything existing in the real world.

    Sorry if you don’t like the caps. I haven’t yet come up with a style for the blog that works well, given the pre-set formal restrictions.

  4. @James Reade

    What an interestingly typical vacuous leftist criticism….

  5. James Reade says:

    Greg – no worries on the caps 😉 I do subscribe to your feed because while I have me scepticism about Hayek and the Austrian school more generally, I think I should understand what they are trying to say. My attempt at bucking the stereotype of someone on the left, at any rate. What arguments against Hayek and markets do you think are good ones, if any?

    Curt – glad I lived up to your expectations! Anything more constructive to say?

  6. Greg Ransom says:

    James, it’s hard to find good stuff on Hayek. It just is. Especially for a left perspective.

    The most sophisticated critic of Hayek out there is Raymond Plant in _The Neoliberal State_.

    Unfortunately, I haven’t yet sprung the cash to buy the book, which I understand it excellent.

    Maybe you can read it for me and we can post your review here on Taking Hayek Seriously.

  7. Greg Ransom says:

    James, pretty much everyone has accepted some version of Hayek’s argument for markets — what you find only are a limits to the degree different folks have comprehended Hayek’s argument.

    I can’t think of any educated and intelligent commentator alive today who fails to accept some primitive version of Hayek’s core argument for markets. What you find are various levels of false caricatre that folks pile on top of that to show their acceptability in poiite company and their independence from Hayek.

    Those who completely reject markets, the existence of money, must embrace a return to primtive society or a North Korea style concentration camp on unique ethical grounds that most do not share. And there is no good reason to think that such a society can be achieved or guaranteed in any case. The plea for nihilism or social suicide isn’t one psychologically healthy people need attend to.

  8. James Reade says:

    Sounds like you have a very Hayek-centric view of the world to associate him with so many parts of economics. The primacy of markets was around way before Hayek was. I’m inclined to think you overstate his influence (and perhaps many of us understate it), but then I guess with a blog title like yours, that’s your job.

    I’m not proposing, nor would I ever propose abandoning markets. Simply I generally point out to my libertarian leaning friends that there are problems with markets, particularly related to externalities and informational difficulties. Doing this is not to propose abandoning markets and bringing in some kind of collectivism. That’s another of my pet peeves with libertarians, they straw-man-isation of anyone who disagrees with them. It isn’t black and white between free markets and a command economy.

  9. Greg Ransom says:

    James. Here’s my view. You are ignorant of the literature.


    Google “Hayek hypothesis” and “Hayek-Friedman hypothesis”.

    Mises is credited with the original argument for the claim that markets are irreplaceable.

    On this topic let me recommend Don Lavoie, _Rivalry and Central Planning_, which lays out the basic intellectual history documenting the fact that many believed markets were replaceable — and desired doing so — prior to and even after the work of Mises and Hayek

  10. Greg Ransom says:

    James, there isn’t a “libertarian friend” who needs you to point any of this out.

    If you are interested in Hayek’s discussion of these issues, read some Hayek. Start with _Law, Legislation, and Liberty_ and then try _The Constitution of Liberty_.

    I might also recommend Roy Cordato, _Welfare Economics and Externalities in an Open Ended Universe_ and Esteban Thomsen, _Prices & Knowledge_.

    The big issue is how do we think about this stuff in a non-shallow way — and how does that non-shallow thinking compare to the typical shallow “models” of “neoclassical” economics.

    If you don’t have any idea what I’m talking about, the burden is on you to learn the literature, if the point of coming here is actually sincere and based on a sincere interest in learning something or knowing something you currently are ignorant about.

    James writes.

    “Simply I generally point out to my libertarian leaning friends that there are problems with markets, particularly related to externalities and informational difficulties.”

  11. James Reade says:

    Classic response. “You are ignorant, I am not.” Yet you don’t even try to answer any of the things I say. Hence why I tend not to bother. I read the kinds of things Libertarians waffle on about, and I try to engage them, and all I get is a list of books back without any concrete response (with a few “you’re ignorant” kind of comments too).

    Is it any wonder many of us give up bothering? You could at least do me the service of giving me a synopsis of exactly why I’m wrong in saying markets are not perfect, and tell me where exactly Hayek deals with problems about information – like a few page references at the minimum.

    I don’t know what academic environment you inhabit, but in mine I don’t have the time to spend weeks on end reading books on stuff I generally agree with (but have issues with in places), that probably doesn’t address the points I’m making. I have research to do.

  12. Greg Ransom says:

    James, and I have endless hours to correct your baseless “guesses” about the contents of Hayek’s work based on zero reading or study on your part?

    I look at what people do, not what they say. You haven’t shown by your action any interest in adding to your knowledge in this area, which could easily do via reading, rather than wasting both of our time with an endless conversation based on your false premises.

    My life doesn’t give me the time, and your actions show me that you have no consideration for my time, only your own.

  13. Greg Ransom says:

    What sort of “research” environment could have produced someone asking me this?

    James writes,

    “why I’m wrong in saying markets are not perfect, and tell me where exactly Hayek deals with problems about information”

  14. Greg Ransom says:

    James, Hayek is credited by all authorities for _introducing_ the problem of information — the whole literature descends directly from Hayek.

    And your talk of “perfect markets” has nothing to do with Hayek, who famously attacked the notion.

    I see no basis for a conversation until you ramp up your background understanding.

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